Three cheers for the organizers of RootsTech 2012! They’ve done it again, even better than last year. Here’s how it went today:
Bruce and I were slow getting to RootsTech this morning, not because we didn’t wake up on time, but because he left his cell phone at home and we had to turn around to get it. Then, there was an injury accident in the commuter lane of the freeway, with another fender-bender behind it! That brought traffic to a crawl. By the time we arrived at the convention center, Bruce dropped me at the door with fifteen minutes to check in before the opening address.
Even though over 4200 people pre-registered for RootsTech this year, the check in went smoother than a frozen lake. I picked up our badges and strolled to the opening session with time to spare.
Jay L. Verkler, past president and CEO of FamilySearch, presented the opening address titled,” Inventing the Future, as a Community.” Verkler began his remarks by quantifying the numbers: From 1750 to 1900 there were six billion people. Since 1900 there have been born about 14 billion. By 2060 there will have been 20 billion people born. By doing the math, Verkler pointed out that we will have many people working on the same genealogy (the original six billion), so there’s a huge need to collaborate as we search the past. Verkler has a remarkable vision for the future and how to bring all the necessary elements together. He presented different ways to integrate technology and genealogy that to my untrained eye seemed to cover all the facets of this complicated puzzle. I was impressed with his vision and understanding of how to accomplish it.
After the opening address, the exhibit hall opened. I spoke with several vendors, which I’ll tell you more about in another post. I did manage to get you a deal with GenealogyBank, the same one they’re giving to people at RootsTech: a one year membership at $48.95 (a 30% savings). To take advantage of this deal, click on the GenealogyBank link on my sidebar, and when you go to pay, put in the coupon code 1201RT. That should do it for you! (This offer is only good through the conference on Feb. 4.)
Prior to today, Bruce and I had gone to the RootsTech website and downloaded and printed our syllabus material for the classes we planned to attend. I believe this download is free to anyone, because I didn’t have to sign in to access it. You might want to print your own handouts, especially for the classes that will end up on their website for later viewing.
Classes I attended:
- “One-Step Web Pages: A Hodgepodge of Lesser-Known Gems,” by Stephen P. Morse. Morse is a technology engineering genius. His website at www.stevemorse.org (note it’s .org and not .com. The .com site belongs to a rock star). Morse IS a rock star in my book. On the surface, his site appears to just have a few tools on it. THAT’s the beauty of how easy it is to use. He actually has over 200 web pages of various tools to help in searching passenger lists, censuses, cemeteries, etc. You should take some time to explore his site. It will be worth your time.
- “Using Android Devices for Genealogy and Family History,” by David Lifferth and Michael C. Helmantoler. This class was not digitally recorded today, but they will be recording it next week and it will be available on the RootsTech website. Apps recommended included World Family Tree from TelGen Limited, Live Family from LiveFamily.com, Catch from Catch.com, Billion Graves from AppTime, GeneDroid (Family Tree) from Mobiwolf, etc. Some of the things they talked about were new to me: “The ice cream sandwich.” I know they weren’t talking about a cold treat to eat. I’ll have to “Google” that one later.
- “The Powers of Evernote: Photos, URLS, Censuses, Geo-location, and Stories,” by Tevya Washburn and Kurt Francom of Fiddler Studios. Washburn and Francom presented a variety of uses for Evernote, for organizing email, photos, notes, web clippings, files, voice recordings, etc. They addressed plug-ins such as the Evernote Browser plug-in, the Clearly browser plug-in, Skitch, NoteFuser, etc. Lest you be lost in this jargon jungle, they will be recording a presentation and webinar that will be made available on their website, www.FiddlerStudios.com/evernote.
- “Eleven Layers of Online Searches,” by Barbara Renick. Those who’ve heard Renick lecture beat a path to her classes because she is well organized, articulate, and presents clear solutions for hard problems. She lived up to her reputation today. My take-away from her lecture was a better idea of how to conduct more effective online searches.
When the classes ended for the day, I was surprised to discover RootsTech had sponsored a free, light buffet supper of fresh fruit, chicken satay, rolls, and brownies!
Then, we attended a comedy show (included free with our registration). RootsTech gave away some door prizes: and HP laptop, a Lenovo laptop, and a couple Britesolid subscriptions. Then, Ryan Hamilton entertained us. I have to admit, I normally pass on comedy routines because the topics usually belong in the gutter. Tonight was a breath of fresh air, no gutter talk, just good clean fun.
All in all, it was a great day, worth cheering about!